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Why you should merge your traditional and digital marketing work

In small companies, this is not an issue that ever comes up–traditional marketing, digital marketing, and possibly cleaning the break room are all merged–that’s Victor’s job. But at big companies, the kind that I work with, folks continue to wrestle with whether the old-style marketing organizations ought to be merged with the new cool digital folks.

Traditional marketing goes by different names in different places–many B2B companies have Marketing Communications (MarCom) and Event Marketing groups, while B2C companies often have Advertising (often through an agency) or Direct Mail teams. But the issue is the same. Do we take the people doing the old-fashioned work and group them with the newfangled social/search/local/mobile mavens?

The companies that I have seen go the merger route seem happier to me than the silo proponents. Here is what they have told me happens after they merge:

  • Skills transfer. Every marketing organization is dealing with the tremendous change in skills required, so merging the groups and actually moving people’s responsibilities around can only help grow the overall skills of the organization.
  • Better analytics. Digital can be measured much more easily than traditional, but when you merge the organizations, you can run tests in digital that inform your budget and creative decisions on traditional.
  • Better focus. If you aren’t dividing the team between traditional and digital, that allows you to organize around more interesting splits, such as geographic or product lines or market segments or something else that makes sense for your business.

None of these benefits accrue to companies that adhere to the status quo of traditional-digital divide. Merge your organization and start making real money.

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Mike Moran

Mike Moran is an expert in digital marketing, search technology, social media, text analytics, web personalization, and web metrics, who, as a Certified Speaking Professional, regularly makes speaking appearances. Mike’s previous appearances include keynote speaking appearances worldwide. Mike serves as a senior strategist for Converseon, an AI powered consumer intelligence technology and consulting firm. He is also a senior strategist for SoloSegment, a marketing automation software solutions and services firm. Mike also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of SEMPO. Mike spent 30 years at IBM, rising to Distinguished Engineer, an executive-level technical position. Mike held various roles in his IBM career, including eight years at IBM’s customer-facing website, ibm.com, most recently as the Manager of ibm.com Web Experience, where he led 65 information architects, web designers, webmasters, programmers, and technical architects around the world. Mike's newest book is Outside-In Marketing with world-renowned author James Mathewson. He is co-author of the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), now in its Third Edition. Mike is also the author of the acclaimed internet marketing book, Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules, named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald. Mike founded and writes for Biznology® and writes regularly for other blogs. In addition to Mike’s broad technical background, he holds an Advanced Certificate in Market Management Practice from the Royal UK Charter Institute of Marketing and is a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. He also teaches at Rutgers Business School. He is a Senior Fellow at the Society for New Communications Research. Mike worked at ibm.com from 1998 through 2006, pioneering IBM’s successful search marketing program. IBM’s website of over two million pages was a classic “big company” website that has traditionally been difficult to optimize for search marketing. Mike, working with Bill Hunt, developed a strategy for search engine marketing that works for any business, large or small. Moran and Hunt spearheaded IBM’s content improvement that has resulted in dramatic gains in traffic from Google and other internet portals.

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